U.S. Soccer

Johnston, Morgan Goals Lift USA to 2-0 Win vs. Japan in Front of Record Ohio Crowd

CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 5, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Japan 2-0 on goals from Julie Johnston and Alex Morgan in front of 23,535 fans – a record attendance for a WNT game in the State of Ohio – in a match that was abandoned in the 76th minute due to inclement weather.

After a thrilling 3-3 draw last Thursday in the teams’ first meeting since the historic 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, the USA put in a dominant performance in the second leg of this two-game set, controlling large swaths of the game and generating numerous goal scoring opportunities while holding firm defensively. The USA held Japan to just two shots on goal.

Johnston scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 27th minute with her eighth career goal, all of set plays, before Morgan capped things off in the 62nd with her team leading 11th goal of 2016.

With the U.S. in control of the match, both teams began introducing numerous second half substitutions, but after playing almost the entire match under sunny skies, the weather abruptly took a turn for the worse and in the 76th minute the match officials were forced to send the players back to the locker room due to lightning and heavy rain. After a long delay, and with more bad weather rolling in, the matched was called off.

U.S. Soccer is awaiting final word from FIFA as to whether the match and all the statistics will count as official.

The U.S. WNT will finish its preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio next month, beginning with the first match in team history against South Africa at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 9 (12 p.m. CT; FS1). The team will play a second match later in July against an as yet to be announced opponent before departing for the Olympics.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Julie Johnston (Allie Long), 27th minute:
The U.S. won a free kick near the right sideline just inside Japan’s half of the field that Morgan Brian sent toward the top of the penalty area. Ami Sugita miss-hit her attempted clearance and the ball fell to Megan Klingenberg, who tapped it back into the left side of the penalty area to Allie Long. Long dribbled into the box before whipping a low cross to the far post where Johnston had gotten in front of her marker to easily redirect the ball into the net. USA 1, JPN 0 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Alex Morgan (Crystal Dunn), 62nd minute: Julie Johnston sent a long ball over the Japan backline down the right wing for Crystal Dunn to run onto. Dunn sprinted into the attacked third and spun a first-time cross low across the face of goal for Alex Morgan who slipped between a pair of Japan defenders to redirect the ball into the roof of the net for the game-capping goal. USA 2, JPN 0 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
JPN – Erina Yamane, 1st minute:
The USA came flying out of the gates from the opening whistle and immediately put Japan’s defense under pressure. Crystal Dunn got down the right flank and picked out Christen Press, who was cutting into the box. Press saw her point blank shot saved by on rushing Japan goalkeeper. The rebound fell to Alex Morgan in the middle of the penalty area and her goal-bound shot hit teammate Allie Long. The USA got another crack at goal, but it was cleared away by a defender with Yamane still finding her footing after making the initial save.

JPN – Erina Yamane, 8th minute: Christen Press got in behind the Japan defense down its left flank and cut past a defender before centering the ball for Allie Long, who was making a trailing run out of midfield. Long had a good look at goal, but her low shot right at Yamane who was able to get down and smother.

JPN – Erin Yamane, 46th minute: Alex Morgan muscled her way past a Japan defender to earn a one-vs.-one chance and after creating a bit of space for herself, she unleashed a dipping shot from just outside the penalty area that required Yamane to reach at full stretch in order to it palm away and keep the U.S. from moving further ahead early in the second half.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. WNT returns to action when it meets South Africa for a friendly for the first time in team history at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 9 (12 p.m. CT; FS1).

Social: Facebook ; Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt; @ussoccer_esp); Instagram; Snapchat (ussoccer_wnt)

Milestone Watch:

  • Hope Solo, who earned her 196th cap, earned the 99th shutout of her career, and with two games left before the Olympics, could become the first goalkeeper to reach 100 before the USA leaves for Brazil. The USA plays South Africa for the first time in team history on July 9 at Soldier Field in Chicago and will play a yet to be announced match in late July.

Additional Notes:

  • The 23,535 fans at today’s game mark the largest crowd to watch the WNT in the state of Ohio. The previous record was 23,101 at Columbus Crew Stadium on Oct. 3, 1999 vs. South Korea.
  • Alex Morgan now has seven career goals vs. Japan, the most she has vs. any country.
  • Morgan has now scored in seven games of the 11 she’s played in 2016, and with four multi-goal games so far, has a total of 11 goals in 2016.
  • Morgan now has 67 career goals and 18 multi-goal games for the USA.
  • The only other time Morgan scored double-digit goals for the USA in a calendar year was in 2012, which, coincidently, also happened to be an Olympic year.
  • Julie Johnston scored her third goal of 2016 and eighth career goal. All have come off set pieces.
  • Allie Long notched her second career assist for the WNT.

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Date:
June 5, 2016
Competition:
International Friendly
Venue:
FirstEnergy Stadium; Cleveland, Ohio
Kickoff:
1 p.m. ET
Attendance:
23,535
Weather:
74 degrees, mostly cloudy (Abandoned in 76th minute due to inclement weather). 

Scoring Summary:           1             2             F
USA                                      1             1             2
JPN                                      0             0             0 

USA – Julie Johnston (Allie Long)                              27th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Crystal Dunn)                           62

Lineups:
USA:
1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 14-Morgan Brian (20-Lindsey Horan, 57), 23-Allie Long, 12-Christen Press; 16-Crystal Dunn (11- Ali Krieger, 75), 13-Alex Morgan, 17-Tobin Heath
Subs Not Used: 3-Samantha Mewis, 6-Whitney Engen, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 15-Emily Sonnett, 21-Alyssa Naeher

Head coach: Jill Ellis 

JPN: 1-Erina Yamane; 5-Yuri Kawamura (2-Saori Ariyoshi, 56),15-Hikari Takagi, 4-Saki Kumagai, 6-Rumi Utsugi (capt.); 17-Ami Sugita (7-Emi Nakajima 46), 10-Mizuho Sakaguchi, 14-Yu Nakasato, 13-Rika Masuya (19-Mayu Sasaki, 65); 11-Yuika Sugasawa (8-Sonoko Chiba, 46), 16-Mana Iwabuchi (20-Kumi Yokoyama, 64)
Subs Not Used: 3-Tomoko Muramatsu, 12-Ayaka Yamashita, 18-Sakiko Ikeda
Head coach: Asako Takakura
 

Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 11 / 3
Shots on Goal: 9 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 5 / 11
Offside: 4 / 1 

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Julie Johnston (caution)                   13th minute
JPN – Yuika Sugasawa (caution)                 36

Officials:
Referee: Marianela Cruz (CRC)  
Assistant Referee 1: Nelly Alvarado (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Shirley Lopez (HON)
4th Official: Melissa Pastrana (HON) 

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Allie Long

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WNT Jun 5, 2016

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Date:
June 5, 2016
Competition:
International Friendly
Venue:
FirstEnergy Stadium; Cleveland, Ohio
Kickoff:
1 p.m. ET
Attendance:
23,535
Weather:
74 degrees, mostly cloudy (Abandoned in 76th minute due to inclement weather). 

Scoring Summary:           1             2             F
USA                                      1             1             2
JPN                                      0             0             0 

USA – Julie Johnston (Allie Long)                              27th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Crystal Dunn)                           62

Lineups:
USA:
1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 14-Morgan Brian (20-Lindsey Horan, 57), 23-Allie Long, 12-Christen Press; 16-Crystal Dunn (11- Ali Krieger, 75), 13-Alex Morgan, 17-Tobin Heath
Subs Not Used: 3-Samantha Mewis, 6-Whitney Engen, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 15-Emily Sonnett, 21-Alyssa Naeher

Head coach: Jill Ellis 

JPN: 1-Erina Yamane; 5-Yuri Kawamura (2-Saori Ariyoshi, 56),15-Hikari Takagi, 4-Saki Kumagai, 6-Rumi Utsugi (capt.); 17-Ami Sugita (7-Emi Nakajima 46), 10-Mizuho Sakaguchi, 14-Yu Nakasato, 13-Rika Masuya (19-Mayu Sasaki, 65); 11-Yuika Sugasawa (8-Sonoko Chiba, 46), 16-Mana Iwabuchi (20-Kumi Yokoyama, 64)
Subs Not Used: 3-Tomoko Muramatsu, 12-Ayaka Yamashita, 18-Sakiko Ikeda
Head coach: Asako Takakura
 

Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 11 / 3
Shots on Goal: 9 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 5 / 11
Offside: 4 / 1 

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Julie Johnston (caution)                   13th minute
JPN – Yuika Sugasawa (caution)                 36

Officials:
Referee: Marianela Cruz (CRC)  
Assistant Referee 1: Nelly Alvarado (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Shirley Lopez (HON)
4th Official: Melissa Pastrana (HON) 

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Allie Long

Five Things to Know About the Senegal U-20 MNT

Coming of a riveting 3-3 draw in their tournament opener against Ecuador, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team continues play at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Thursday, May 25 as it meets Group F leaders Senegal, who defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 in their first match, at Incheon Football Stadium in Incheon, Korea Republic. The middle match of group play will be televised live on FS1, FOX Sports Go and Telemundo En Vivo at 7 a.m. ET.

Here are five things you should know about Senegal:

How They Qualified

Senegal qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup by finishing as the runner-up at the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Zambia. Drawn into Group B, Senegal topped the four-team group to advance to the Semifinals and clinch its spot in the U-20 World Cup. Following a 1-1 draw with Sudan, Les Lions de la Teranga recorded a 4-3 victory against South Africa and a 2-0 win vs. Cameroon to win the group.

In the Semifinals, Senegal collected a 1-0 shutout against Guinea before falling 2-0 to host Zambia in the tournament Final.

U-20 World Cup History

Senegal is making just its second all-time appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and second consecutive following its participation in the most recent edition two years ago.

At the 2015 tournament in New Zealand, the Senegalese slipped through the group stage as a third-place qualifier before making a run in the Knockout Round to finish fourth. In the Round of 16, Senegal advanced past Ukraine on penalty kicks, 3-1. After a 1-0 Quarterfinal win against Uzbekistan, Senegal fell 5-0 to Brazil in the semifinals. The Senegalese finished the tournament with a 3-1 loss to regional rival Mali in the Third-Place Match. 

The Manager

A player for the Senegal National Team between 1980-86, Joseph Koto takes charge of the Senegal

U-20 team again after guiding them to its fourth-place finish in 2015. Under Koto’s guidance, Senegal has twice finished as runner-up at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. In 2012, Koto had a brief four-month stint as the head coach of the Senegal Men’s National Team. When describing his coaching style to FIFA.com, Koto described himself as “more as a doting father than a strict disciplinarian. To get results, I start a dialogue and I cajole the players rather than bashing them.”

Memories from Korea

Senegal’s biggest moment as a soccer nation occurred in 2002 when it qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the only time in its history. Like this year’s U-20 World Cup, that tournament took place in Korea Republic. In the tournament’s opening game in Seoul, Senegal stunned the soccer world when they upset defending champion France 1-0 on a first-half goal from Papa Bouba Diop.

Les Lions de la Teranga advanced out of the group and into the Round of 16 where they defeated Sweden 2-1 in extra time. Senegal’s magical World Cup run ended in the Quarterfinals when it fell to 1-0 to Turkey.

The Roster

Along with 15 players based in Senegal, the roster also features players based in Egypt, France, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Mouhamed Mbaye (FC Porto/POR), Idrissa Ndiaye (Diambars FC/SEN), Lamine Sarr (AS Dakar Sacre Coeur/SEN)

DEFENDERS (8): Souleymane Aw (Excellence Foot/SEN), Moussa Ba (Excellence Foot/SEN), Mamadou Diarra (Generation Foot/SEN), Waly Diouf (Valenciennes FC/FRA), Alioune Gueye (NGB Niarry Tally/SEN), Akhibou Ly (CNEPS Excellence/SEN), Mamadou Mbaye (AS Dakar Sacre Coeur/SEN), Jean Ndecky (Casa Sport/SEN)

MIDFIELDERS (4): Calvin Diagne (Darou Salam-ASMA/SEN), Krepin Diatta (Sarpsborg FK/NOR), Bamba Kane (Diambars FC/SEN), Souleye Sarr (Mbour Petite Cote FC/SEN)

FORWARDS (6): Aliou Badji (Djurgardens IF/SWE), Habib Gueye (Darou Salam-ASMA/SEN), Ibrahima Niane (Generation Foot/SEN), Ibrahima Ndiaye (Wadi Degla FC/EGY), Ousseymou Niang (Diambars FC/SEN), Mouhamed Pouye (Mbour Petite Cote FC/SEN)

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U-20 MNT May 23, 2017

RECAP: Luca De La Torre and Erik Palmer-Brown Chat With Fans on Facebook Live

Following the U-20 MNT's dramatic 3-3 draw with Ecuador on Monday, goal scorer Luca De La Torre and captain Erik Palmer-Brown took to Facebook Live to discuss how things are going with the team in Korea Republic. 

Watch the full session below and make sure to catch the USA's second match at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup vs. Senegal on Thursday, May 27 at 7 a.m. ET on FS1 and Telemundo. 

Did you know that Luca De La Torre's goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time vs. Ecuador was the latest goal scored by a U.S. player at the FIFA U-20 World Cup? Click here to find out more about the Fulham attacker's historic strike. 

Go behind the scenes with the U-20 MNT during its time in Korea Republic! Follow along on Twitter and Instagram @ussoccer_ynt

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U-20 MNT May 23, 2017

U.S. Soccer Appoints First Group of Girls' Development Academy Technical Advisors

CHICAGO (May 22, 2017) – As part of its ongoing effort to make soccer the preeminent sport in the U.S. by developing world class players, coaches, and referees, U.S. Soccer has appointed the first group of Technical Advisors for the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. This collection of coaches brings a wealth and variety of experience to the Academy environment.

“This is the next step in creating a better pathway for girls to navigate the club environment in this country,” Girls’ Development Academy director Miriam Hickey said. “We were able to acquire the most passionate and qualified individuals to fill these roles. These new Technical Advisors bring outstanding knowledge of the game in the U.S. and internationally. With a deep understanding of the standards required at the club, collegiate and professional level, the TAs will provide invaluable insight into preparing our elite young athletes for the highest levels.”

All the new Technical Advisors hold a U.S. Soccer or UEFA ‘A’ license. On a day-to-day basis, the TA’s will support the efforts of the clubs to elevate their everyday environment by providing consistent, meaningful feedback while helping identify players who deserve consideration for the Training Centers and the Youth National Teams. Creating synergy and partnerships with member clubs will be essential for the development of the players and the sport.

In their roles, they will manage the talent identification networks in their regions, which consist of U.S. Soccer scouts and collegiate coaches who attend training, games, and Academy showcases to identify elite talent. As the next step in the pathway, they will provide scouting reports and player-specific data to the Director of Talent Identification and Youth National Team Staffs.

U.S. Soccer will hire additional Technical Advisors to ensure all areas of the country are properly covered and clubs are supported to further player identification and development. Individuals interested in applying for the remaining Technical Advisor positions (Northeast, Mid-America, Northern California) can do so via this link.

Morgan Church (Southeast Division)
Morgan Church brings a rich and diverse background in the sport to the Academy, with a career spanning more than a decade as a coach, technical director, instructor and administrator in the Southeast region. Most recently, Church served as the Technical Director for the United Soccer Alliance where she designed the curriculum for teams to align with U.S. Soccer recommendations as well as the Community Programs Director for the Jacksonville Armada. Church was the first Assistant Women’s Soccer coach at Gonzaga University and also coached at Florida State University in 2016. Additionally, she has served as the Technical Director of Coaching for the Jacksonville Armada FC Youth and been a staff member for the U.S. Soccer Training Center and the Olympic Development Program.

Katie Cole (Frontier Division)
With a track record of developing and enhancing programs to improve player development and aiding high school aged athletes through the college recruiting process, Katie Cole fits superbly into the Technical Advisor role. A decorated four-year starter at the University of Texas at Austin, she began her coaching career as an assistant at the University of Louisville in 1998. After founding and operating a club in 2004 and serving as the Director of Coaching, Cole has been a part of the Arizona ODP program since 2005 and became an ODP Director in 2013. Additionally, Cole was a Region IV ODP age group coach and a part of the Arizona U.S. Soccer Training Center.

Diane Drake (Atlantic Division)
Diane Drake has logged more than 20 years as a college coach in the Atlantic region, specializing in motivational skills and developing relationships. After a five-year tenure at Georgetown University where she left as the winningest coach in the team’s history, Drake spent 11 years leading the women’s soccer program at George Mason University. Currently a public-school teacher in Fairfax County, Va., she most recently has been an integral part of the technical staff of the McLean Youth Soccer Association. As the founder of Drake Soccer Camps, she has created programs that integrate topics including: nutrition, injury prevention and regeneration, leadership and cognitive soccer areas. She has served on the NSCAA board of directors, chaired the NSCAA Mid Atlantic Rankings Committee and been on the NCAA RAC as well as the event management team for the NCAA College Cup. Drake had extensive playing career, winning NCAA Woman of the Year as captain with the University of Dayton, as well as MVP of the former Midwestern Collegiate Conference. She was an NSCAA Regional All-American in 1993. Later she would play for the Raleigh Wings in the USISL and win a national championship in 1998. Drake has also been a part of the U.S. Soccer National Training Centers in Virginia.

Marieke Laurens-van Tienhoven (Southwest Division)
Marieke Laurens-van Tienhoven holds a UEFA A license and has more than 16 years of professional experience at the club, high school, university and international level. A native of the Netherlands now residing in New Jersey, she worked closely with the coaches and players of the Dutch Women’s National Teams and was an assistant coach for the KNVB U-15 Girls National Team. Additionally, she coached U-14 through U-19 National Team Players at the Centre for Elite Sports and Education in Amsterdam on a daily basis. She served as a KNVB Academy Coach Educator, teaching the licenses for candidates who coach players from the U-5 to the U-19 age groups. In addition, Marieke contributed to the growth and success at Dutch Total Soccer through player identification, player development and coaches’ education. Simultaneously, she has been the head coach of ODP Region I teams and a member of the Super-Y League National Scouting Staff.

Zahra Lechak (Northwest Division)
Zahra Lechak brings both a scientific as well as a coaching background to the Technical Advisor role. She attended the University of Connecticut on a soccer scholarship and graduated with a degree in Molecular Cell Biology and Chemistry. She has since been a fixture in the Northwest soccer community, first as a head coach and course instructor for the Washington Youth Soccer Association. Beginning a four-year tenure on the Region IV ODP staff in 2010, she was the youngest head coach on staff and recruited elite players into the program. In 2014, she was named the U.S. Youth Soccer National Girls Competitive Coach of the Year. She served as the head assistant coach for the Seattle Sounders Women from 2013-15. Additionally, she was a founding member of Seattle United FC where she has been instrumental in developing and growing the girls program and in 2015 became the assistant Director of Coaching.

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ACADEMY U-14 NDP May 22, 2017

Five Things to Know About U-20 MNT Forward Josh Sargent

One of the U.S. Youth National Team's brightest prospects, forward Josh Sargent has made waves of late not only for the U-17 Men's National Team, but as part of the U.S. selection at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. 

Here are five things you should know about the O'Fallon, Mo., product. 

St. Louis Bred

Hailing from the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon, Josh Sargent made early plans when it came to soccer. According to his mother Liane, the future U-17 MNT forward learned how to kick a ball at age three and began telling friends and family that he was going to be a professional soccer player one day.

The soccer-rich environment of St. Louis certainly helped nurture those ambitions, but they were cultivated by his family as well. Both Liane and his father Jeff played collegiately, while his two sisters are also following in his footsteps in the game.

St. Louis Scott Gallagher

Sargent follows a long line of talent that suited up for powerhouse U.S. Soccer Development Academy Club St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri, including current MNT defender Tim Ream, assistant coach Pat Noonan and former U.S. international Taylor Twellman.

Along with having a soccer family, Sargent credits the players and staff at SLSG for helping him reach the U.S. Youth National Team setup.

“It has been great these past few years. Playing in the Development Academy has really improved my game and the coaches know what they’re talking about,” Sargent told ussoccer.com last October. “The coaches are great guys. They’ve not only taught me how to be a better soccer player but how to become a better person overall. They are the type of people that will take care of you, mentor you, and show you what to do and how to do it.”

U.S. Youth National Teams

Having first appeared at a U-14 Training Camp in 2013, Sargent progressed on to the U-15 level where he notably took part in an international training camp in England in 2015.

Towards the end of that year, Sargent played for the rising U-15 Boys National Team at the 2015 Nike International Friendlies and then joined the U-17 MNT Residency Program. Prior to the 2017 FIFA U-17 Championship in April, Sargent amassed 14 goals and seven assists in 29 international matches, including his four goals and two assists during three matches as the U.S. won the 2016 Nike International Friendlies

Sargent captained the U-17 MNT at this spring's regional World Cup Qualifying tournament, racking up five goals and two assists in five games as the U.S. finished as runners-up in the tournament. Sargent particularly impressed during the USA's 4-3 comeback win against Mexico during the Group Stage, tallying two goals, one of which made that night's SportsCenter Top 10.

WATCH: Josh Sargent's Stunning Individual Effort vs. Mexico

Making Professional Waves

Sargent’s play for the U-17 MNT has put him in the spotlight for more than a few professional clubs. Last Summer, the O’Fallen, Mo., product spent two weeks training with Sporting Kansas City, who has since been confirmed to hold his league rights should he decide to sign with M.L.S., but there could be other opportunities.

Later in October, Sargent took a week-long training spell with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven – a club where current MNT left back DaMarcus Beasley got his European start. Then after training with the U-20 MNT in January, Sargent went on another stint with German club Schalke, where fellow U.S. youth internationals Haji Wright, Weston McKennie and Nicholas Taitague currently reside.

U-20 MNT

Days after helping the U.S. qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Sargent was named to Tab Ramos' final roster for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. With the chance to become just the second player to appear in both U-17 and U-20 World Cup events during the same year, Sargent picked up where he left off, tallying two goals to lead the comeback in the USA's 3-3 draw with Ecuador to open proceedings in Korea.

At 17 years, 91 days, Sargent became the youngest player in U.S. history to score and just the sixth U.S. player to record a multi-goal game at the event. 

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U-17 MNT U-20 MNT May 22, 2017

Brian, Dunn & Ertz: The "NEW" New Kids Are All Grown Up

In 2008, Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath and Amy Rodriguez, all 20-years-old or younger and teammates on the 2006 U-20 Women’s World Cup Team, were working to establish themselves on the U.S. WNT. They were the subject of a ussoccer.com video highlighting the talented youngsters and dubbing them, The New Kids.

Six years later, a new generation came into the fold, and in 2014, Lauren, Tobin and Amy passed the torch to the NEW New Kids: 22-year-old Julie Johnston, 21-year-old Morgan Brian and 22-year-old Crystal Dunn who were trying to make the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team and had all been teammates on the U.S. team that won the 2012 Under-20 Women’s World Cup,

Like their mentors before them, the careers and lives of Julie, Morgan and Crystal have seemed to intertwine.

The beginning of the story for these three can be traced back to 2008, when Dunn and Brian played in the first FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand – Dunn as a starter and Brian, the youngest player on the roster, as a reserve outside back.

Four years later, Brian, Dunn and Johnston helped the USA win the 2012 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship and then memorably played key roles as the USA won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. Brian played all but 18 minutes, Johnston played all but 32, and Dunn played every minute of every game.


Dunn, Johnston and Brian at the 2012 U-20 FIFA Women's World Cup in Japan 

During the tournament, Brian pulled the strings in a talented midfield and scored a goal in the semifinal against Nigeria, while as a right back Dunn had two huge assists – in the quarterfinal and championship matches – to lead the USA to victory. Johnston captained the squad and marshaled a stout U.S. defense that allowed only one goal in the knockout stages. She won the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament, a rare feat for a defender. Their success on the youth level showed that these three had the potential for bright futures on the senior side, and they would all debut for the full WNT within a four-month span the following year.

Johnston and Dunn earned their first caps in the same week, just four days apart against Scotland. Johnston’s came on Feb. 9, 2013 while Dunn made her debut on Feb. 13, 2013. Brian quickly followed, earning her first cap on June 15, 2013 against the Korea Republic.


Brian and Dunn have played with each other since 2008, when they were teammates at the U-17 Women's World Cup

Together on the senior team, Brian and Johnston went on to win the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Dunn was initially named to the roster but suffered a mild MCL strain and was replaced by none other than Johnston. Brian, Johnston and Dunn were all a part of the teams that won 2015 Algarve Cup, the 2016 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the 2016 SheBelieves Cup. They were also all part of the 2016 Olympic Team.

Brian and Johnston were key members of the U.S. team that won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Dunn was the last player cut from that roster, but she used that as motivation to have an incredible year in the NWSL, earning the 2015 MVP award and establishing herself as one of the best and most lethal attackers in the league.

Julie Johnston, Morgan Brian
Johnston and Brian won the FIFA Women's World Cup together in 2015

“I am so lucky to have this amazing soccer journey with Crystal and Morgan since our youth days, and it's even more special to have a different connection off the field,” Johnston told ussoccer.com.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2017, and all three are established contributors to the National Team. Currently, Brian has 66 caps and six goals, Johnston has 47 caps and eight goals while Dunn has 50 caps and 22 goals, including a team record-tying five in one game against Puerto Rico in Olympic qualifying.

So, after seven years of playing together on the U.S. National Teams (nine for Brian and Dunn), years of personal and athletic growth, there are also some new milestones to celebrate in the lives of the NEW New Kids. It turns out that off the field, the NNKs are all grown up too, and once again, they seem to be doing it all together, almost at the same time.

Twenty-five-year-old Julie Ertz (née Johnston) recently married her college sweetheart, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.

“It is so crazy to think all three of us have found the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with around the same time,” said Ertz. “Playing soccer professionally is our dream, but it takes away from our loved ones often and distance is never easy, so it’s nice to have someone who understands those challenges and is going through the same thing. It makes it a little easier. We have three lucky men! And that's three super fun weddings! They are all very supportive and huge soccer fans.”

As for 24-year-olds Dunn and Brian, they are both engaged now, and yes, though it was not planned, their engagements came within a few months of each other.

“Us NEW New Kids are growing up fast!” Brian said about her soccer and life journey with Dunn and Ertz. “It’s a really exciting time in all of our lives and it’s fun to be able to witness how we’ve changed and have been molded by the people we have met.”

“I am so happy for Julie and Crystal. We’ve helped each other through the ups and downs of the National Team, which is no easy task, and now we help each other through the process of wedding planning, which could be even more difficult, to be honest. It’s been a fun ride.” 


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WNT May 22, 2017
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